"He was convinced that I was innocent but because I could not prove it to the level required by the court he did what he could to minimise the sentencing."
An acquaintance had a similar experience. His less than competent solicitors advised him to plead guilty to what they considered an inadvertent "technical" offence. That would mean probation. They said if he went for a jury trial he would get a prison sentence under the mandatory "raising the stakes" rules.
The Crown Court judge was very critical of the prosecution's minimal evidence - and apologised to the defendant for the minimum sentencing rules that he was forced to follow.
It completely destroyed my faith in the police and CPS - especially when talking to a police officer who revealed that the particular police force took pride in being "hard men". Although other officers disapproved of their known unethical behaviour - they still closed ranks to protect their institution.